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Dividend Raise Pushes Questcor Higher

Zacks Equity Research

The share price of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (QCOR) is on the rise since the announcement of a hike in its quarterly dividend payment. Questcor declared a 20% rise in dividend to 30 cents from 25 cents per share, which is payable on Oct 30 to shareholders of record as on Oct 22, 2013.

Prior to this, Questcor had increased its quarterly dividend by 25% in Feb 2013. Questcor’s dividend policy aims at a payout ratio of 20% of its annual net income.

A strong cash position and robust Acthar usage led to the rise in dividends. On Oct 4, 2013, cash and investments were $278 million. The company intends to utilize its cash balance for research and development activities and investment purposes.

Acthar, an injectable drug, is the only marketed product at Questcor. Acthar generated sales of $177 million in the second quarter of 2013. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) for as many as 19 indications, including nephrotic syndrome (NS), dermatomyositis, polymyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses and infantile spasms (:IS).

The company shipped 7,050 vials of Acthar during the second quarter of 2013, up 50% year over year and 46% sequentially. Acthar’s new paid prescriptions climbed 35% year over year in the second quarter of 2013.

Questcor carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies like Roche (RHHBY), Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS) and Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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